Astronomers use supercomputer to explore role of dark matter in galaxy formation
Dark matter exerts a gravitational pull on matter in a galaxy, including stars, which orbit the center of the galaxy. Since dark matter neither emits nor absorbs light or other electromagnetic radiation, it cannot be seen directly with telescopes. However, through indirect evidence, scientists estimate that dark matter constitutes 83% of the matter in the universe and 23% of the mass-energy.
This represents a significant portion of the universe. For that reason, astronomers like Gebhardt feel compelled to learn more about dark matter, its influences on the formation of galaxies, and its effects on the structure of the cosmos.
"We believe dark matter is a new type of particle that has yet to be discovered," Gebhardt said. "In a lot of our experiments, we hone in on it, even though we don't know its nature yet."